Home bidding wars fall to a fourth of last year's rate

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Here's how rapidly the U.S. housing market has cooled: Buyers are now about four times less likely to face a bidding war than they were just a year ago.

In June, 12% of buyers faced competition compared with 52% a year earlier, according to an analysis by brokerage Redfin of offers written by its agents. While San Francisco is the most competitive market, the share of listings that got multiple offers fell to 28% from 65%.

Home sales started slipping toward the end of last year after rising mortgage rates put purchases out of reach for many would-be buyers, especially in coastal markets where prices had soared. Borrowing costs have since dropped, bringing out more buyers, but the recovery has been slow to kick in.

San Jose, in the heart of California's Silicon Valley, has seen the country's most dramatic comedown. Only 6% of offers faced competition in June, half the national rate. A year earlier, it was 74%.

Properties in the area are "staying on the market longer, and more sellers dropping prices than either of the last two years," Redfin agent Stella Phua said in a statement. "The only homes that are getting multiple offers now are the ones in the best locations, great condition, and priced lower than similar homes in the neighborhood."

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